If you can understand your visitors, you can understand how they will behave when they get to your site. Anticipate what they will want to do next and help them to travel down the sales funnel. What are their top-level needs when they get to your homepage? Have you looked at your analytics to see if they are actually going where you want them to go? Have you considered what the click stream should look like if the user lands on an internal page rather than your homepage?
The beauty of PPC is that it brings focused, targeted traffic to your Web site with measurable results and superfast marketing feedback loops. You can account for every dime spent. It’s a beautiful thing.
Yet many advertisers simply direct ad clicks to their generic homepage rather than to a page created specifically for the user who just clicked the ad. I have read industry reports that state that up to 40% of PPC ads are still pointing to generic, unfocused landing pages. If you use dedicated landing pages for each of your campaigns among the different PPC vendors, it will be very easy to measure and track ROI for each ad. Why settle for an industry-average 2-4% conversion rate when the right landing page can literally quadruple (or more in most cases) the number of conversions?
Another reason to use dedicated landing pages: It simply makes life easier for your visitor! Think about it…they have already read and clicked your ad, so they know exactly what they are looking for and what they expect to see after they click the link. If you dump the user on a generic home page that doesn’t specifically address their query, they will have to start their search all over again within your own site!
Before you spend a lot of time and money optimizing your website for keywords that you think users may be searching for, run a pay-per-click campaign and study the data. Start with Google’s AdWords program. Google has the best tools and the largest reach.
For example, I have a client who wanted to be ranked in the natural search results for a few dozen highly competitive terms. By running a PPC campaign for a couple of months (with thousands of potential keywords), we discovered that, while those original keywords did drive traffic to the site, those visitors did not convert to customers. They were ‘researchers’, and ‘browsers’, but they weren’t ready to buy.
Through our testing, however, we discovered hundreds of keywords that did convert visitors into customers. We immediately changed our focus to target those terms instead. The small investment for PPC testing was returned to us 10-fold within two months and the site is now ranking in the natural search results for those high-converting keywords.
I can think of no other advertising medium where you can do this sort of real-time testing in a real marketplace and receive feedback almost immediately. It’s priceless.
My name is Michael. I am a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, & Social Media Content Producer living in Central New York.
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